Event celebrates Lutheran-Mennonite dialogue

Dr. Kathryn L. Johnson, professor of historical theology at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary. (Photo provided)

Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary/Mennonite Church USA

By Mary E. Klassen

ELKHART, Ind. (AMBS and Mennonite Church USA)—A Lutheran-Mennonite day of conversation is planned for April 10, with Dr. Kathryn L. Johnson as a guest presenter for Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Mennonite Church USA.

At 11:45 a.m., Johnson will preach on “The Resurrection” in the seminary’s chapel at 3003 Benham Avenue. At 4:30 p.m., representatives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) will gather to dedicate a tree planted near the Mennonite offices at 3145 Benham Avenue. At 7 p.m., Johnson will present a lecture, “Grace and gratitude: Reconciliation among Mennonites and Lutherans,” in the seminary’s chapel. The public is invited to all of these events; there is no charge to attend.

The theme of the day is “Growing in oneness of spirit.” It celebrates several years of conversation among Mennonites and Lutherans, reconciling divisions that began in the 1500s. At that time, the Lutheran Church persecuted Anabaptists for beliefs that differed from the established church. Efforts over the last several years have resulted in public forgiveness and reconciliation between the two denominations.

Other denominational representations who will be present include William Gafkjen, bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of ELCA; Donald J. McCoid, executive for ecumenical and inter-religious relations, ELCA; André Gingerich Stoner, director of interchurch relations, Mennonite Church USA; Lois Johns Kaufmann, conference minister for Central District Conference (Mennonite Church USA); and Daniel Z. Miller, conference minister for Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference (Mennonite Church USA).

Johnson was instrumental in fostering encounters between the LWF and Mennonite World Conference as she directed ecumenical affairs for LWF for six years. She also served for three years as assistant general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation. She is professor of historical theology at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary and holds a Ph.D. from Yale University.

Additional details about the day are available at www.ambs.edu/lutheran-mennonite.

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Dr. Kathryn L. Johnson, professor of historical theology at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary. (Photo provided)